Heredity

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Chromosome
DNA · RNA
Genome
Heredity
Mutation
Nucleotide
Variation

Glossary
Index
Outline

Introduction
History

Evolution · Molecular
Population genetics
Mendelian inheritance
Quantitative genetics
Molecular genetics

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Genomics · Topics
Medical genetics

Branches in genetics

Heredity is the passing of traits to offspring (from its parent or ancestors). This is the process by which an offspring cell or organism acquires or becomes predisposed to the characteristics of its parent cell or organism. Through heredity, variations exhibited by individuals can accumulate and cause some species to evolve. The study of heredity in biology is called genetics, which includes the field of epigenetics.

Contents

History

The ancients had a variety of ideas about heredity: Theophrastus proposed that male flowers caused female flowers to ripen; Hippocrates speculated that "seeds" were produced by various body parts and transmitted to offspring at the time of conception, and Aristotle thought that male and female semen mixed at conception. Aeschylus, in 458 BC, proposed the male as the parent, with the female as a "nurse for the young life sown within her."

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